Why it's over for America. An inability to protect its citizens. The belief that it is above the law. A lack of democracy. Three defining characteristics of the 'failed state'. And that, says Noam Chomsky, is exactly what the US is becoming.
What ever does he mean by becoming?
Lemme see. So America was safe, law abiding, and democratic before? Hmmm, was that before the attempted Native American genocide or after they were corralled on reservations?
Was protecting its citizens before or after 350 years of slavery, segregation, Jim Crow? Democracy before or after women won the vote?
Above the law before or after incinerating part of Japan? Was that law abiding before or after 250 years of global expansion? Ummm, would democratic be before or after America's protected and free elite sold the nation to the highest corporate bidders?
Lawzy Mister Chomsky, we got to have a doctor, I don't know nothin' bout failed states.
If I knew Noam's height, 6' or 5'10" or whatever, I could gasp and say, with lifted brows and astonished voice, "I didn't know shit could be stacked that high."
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Why it's over for America. An inability to protect its citizens. The belief that it is above the law. A lack of democracy. Three defining characteristics of the 'failed state'. And that, says Noam Chomsky, is exactly what the US is becoming.
The Lester Eugene Siler case. "When Tennessee law enforcement officials showed up at the home of Lester Siler, who they suspected of drug use, they asked Lester's wife and son to leave. They didn't know that Lester's wife had turned on a tape recorder in the kitchen. When Lester exercised his constitutional right not to sign a consent to search his house, these officers spent the next two hours torturing him. They beat him with bats and guns, held loaded guns to his head, threatened to shoot him, dunked his head in the toilet, burned him with lighters, attached his testicles to a battery charger, threatened to cut off his fingers, and threatened to "go get" his wife and take his child away from him. Then they arrested him for "evading arrest".
The audio recording.
I had a problem with getting this mp3 to play and finally had to open Window Media Player, click on File, Open URL, and copy/paste the link in that to play. It's about 40 minutes, although I couldn't listen that long.
Posted by Kate-A at 7:39 PM
"After tearing apart a barn, FBI agents began digging up the ground where it stood Thursday, taking photos and video and sifting through dirt by hand as they searched for Jimmy Hoffa’s remains at a suburban Detroit farm…..The 100-by-30-foot barn was torn down Wednesday as the FBI scoured Hidden Dreams Farm, which once was owned by a Hoffa associate and is located not far from where the former Teamsters chief vanished in 1975. Before the dig began Thursday, authorities removed a layer of concrete and asphalt that had been the floor of three rooms inside the building."
May 31, 2006
My elderly and ailing father-in-law (Chicago Sicilian, really you can check) who knew Hoffa, recently informed me that Jimmy is buried beneath an old storage building on the southwest corner of my property. The 50 x 42 foot building was built around 1970s and is a little dilapidated although I have kept it painted so it's not quite the eyesore it could be. The foundation is a concrete slab, the building part brick and mortar and wood, with a tin roof , semi-new.
(Currently it is used to store gardening tools, exercise equipment, DIY supplies I didn't need after all, bicycles, Xmas decorations, 35 years of 5 children memorabilia, military clothing the boys always leave behind, my youngest daughter's room boxed up 8 years ago and still waiting for her, and now grandchildren things which pile up here because they forget to take it home!)
Please come as soon as possible to perform your search, and demo this building from my premises. I don't mind at all. There will be no problem with access as there is a locked double gate on the south end of the property. Let me know your ETA and I'll open up for you.
If you choose to search I will expect government replacement with a new construction of similar size and materials (installation of plumbing would be nice) and, of course, compensation for any inconvenience such an ordeal might cost me, such as temporary storage of the above items elsewhere until the new building is finished.
p.s. The name of my little lady's farm is Hidden Agenda.
Posted by Kate-A at 12:03 PM
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
The blogosphere, MSM, and John Murtha spoke loudly on the Haditha massacre this past week. Many compare it to My Lai which I don't find comparable. In either case the events are not defendable. Yes, the perpetrators will be punished if guilty. No, I don't think we can smear the entire military as indiscriminate revenge killers. If charged and convicted, the Haditha perps may join the other prisoners on Fort Leavenworth's death row.
As I have not seen the photos and forensic evidence in the hands of the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service, I don't know the truth in regard to what happened at Haditha. Personally, while I don't condone it, I can understand it. I can understand rage and frustration – not condone the response.
If the investigation brings charges the "left" will feel vindicated: A "told you so" sort of malicious satisfaction; and the "right" will get their mileage: See we told you we're moral, upright, rule of law and all that and will prosecute bad guys. (See the expendable Kenny Boy Lay.)
If the troops are cleared the "left" gets little political mileage other than maybe a reluctant sigh of relief the troops weren't madmen murdering and some will say the cover-up continues. If no one is charged in the incident the "right" will say: See how eager the "left" was to believe the worst, or see how the "left" makes a conspiracy out of everything. Either way both left and right receive talking points and move on to the next preplanned and presented leak or story. Of course the killing, paid for by Americans, continues.
Recently I was thinking of the previous anti-war warriors from the '60s and the general view of them today. The participants in that movement are not remembered as patriots and heroes but as the spoiled affluent middle class. Bored bourgeoise babies who dropped acid and smoked pot, creating campus riots, takeovers, sit-ins, love-ins. Most of today's generation views the past anti-waristas as violent, hairy, unwashed pot-head hippies, sympathetic to communists, clashing with authority in the streets and on campus. Similarly, the Black Panthers are not known for their good works in Black communities of the '60s, but as an armed militant gang of angry Black men. How will today's anti-war crowd appear to future generations? As Baghdad Cindys and Abbie Murthas?
In a statement to the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations 35 years ago John Kerry said war crimes by US soldiers in Vietnam "were not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command." After the war, to coddle and assure the masses they were good, the vets were painted as the bad and the ugly. A drafted military, uneducated, low class, the dregs of society. Go back to sleep Joe Nobody, you did nothing wrong. Reagan and Rambo and Oliver Stone will soon come along to make amends and heroes for you.
Surely John Murtha, Vietnam veteran, knows war is a day-to-day crime. Yet Murtha and Kerry have supported and been at the public trough of the political war machine for decades. Kerry understood politics better after his butt was barely missed at a Managua airport attack in 1985. Kerry continued to play "left" politically, but going "right" along with the military industrial complex. These same two men supported 12 years of Iraqi sanctions which murdered 500,000 Iraqi children; and according to their cohort Madeleine Albright "was worth it." Read my lips – the ruling elite and political puppets are not against murder for profit. The pols pretend to argue, using euphemisms and doublespeak, but remember 2 things : none will say the War on Terror is bogus and all have an abnormal love for Israel, although 1 or 2 critters will squeak up occasionally so we think there's congressional dissent on those issues.
The same lines heard today were heard 35 to 40 years ago. US racism, indiscriminate killing, shoot first ask questions later policy, cover-ups, trigger happy troops, plant a shovel and gun and instant "insurgent." The establishment "left" never covers racism at home as thoroughly as it does when the US exports it abroad. Those same lines fit right here at home; racism, indiscriminate killing, shoot first, cover-up, trigger happy cops, plant a gun .... over there it's a "pattern," at home it's an unfortunate episode.
Some "experts" feel My Lai was the turning point for the public against the Vietnam War but I don't buy it. The public majority never specifically soured on Vietnam. That war ended because the coffers of the military industrial investors were momentarily filled, having once again drained US tax dollars, and bringing the boys home became an election slogan, a revival of Ike's promise to bring 'em home from Korea. But the times are not the '50s and today's politicians are no Eisenhower.
Some are hopeful that Haditha will be the "tipping point" for the public on the Iraq War. Not gonna happen. Americans will say they're against war but actually doing anything about stopping war is not on their agenda. Too many other items to attend to. Too busy with survival, having fun, or simply don't want to be bothered too often with politics. The US is building the world's largest, most lavish, luxurious, self-contained embassy in Iraq and numerous permanent bases. We're going to be there a long time. The fighting may become sporadic and less intense but don't count on that scenario taking place anytime soon.
It bothers me that the Haditha coverage comes predominantly from the New York Times, Washington Post, and TIME magazine. Print media who haven't been particularly investigative or honest before, so why now? Nor are they being objective and have pretty much tried, convicted, and hung the perps with sensationalism.
WaPo gave us the dramatic and false account of Jessica Lynch with gun blazing as she emptied her clip before being shot and stabbed by her captors. The papers were relying heavily on Pentagon "sources" then, as they are now. When did the Pentagon grow a conscience? Was that around the same time the congressional democrats grew testicles and a spine? The answer to both questions is : they haven't, it's part of the political sideshow.
Unfortunately, looks like Joe Nobody will get the same staged results, more or less. Lines drawn, sides arguing and producing "revelation after revelation" about the other side; word fodder for talking heads. The War on Terror, like the Cold War and the War on Drugs will eventually grow dimmer on the media horizon and raise its ugly head at feeding time (funding).
As the majority of Americans don't care about an Iraqi's life or death, the outrage after outrage will lose audience. A few thinking folks will stay busy speaking and writing and stirring a small uproar over that which they cannot or will not do much about.
The "left" bristles at being told most Americans don't care – but such reality isn't a problem for the ruling elite – in fact they have made good use of Americans not giving a shit about anything. The attitude allows serial war and the guilt it produces periodically rakes in massive amounts for charity. Arguing the justification for a war-in-progress will occupy millions of minds for a few minutes (usually at election time).
"Left" and "right" jump on the latest poll to see who's winning the war for American hearts and minds. Pundits from both sides perpetuate the notion their side is winning when the truth is Idol and MTV and The Simpsons have priority. The "right" has a definite edge in recognizing and using the ignorance of their voting base - whereas the "left" believes if they bring folks to liberal Oz the voter becomes an intellectual, instantly smarter. Some may think we've politically swung from one extreme to the other but the US has been ruled by one "reich-wing" since at least WWII. Don't kid yourself, if we truly had a political left, right, and center we wouldn't be in the midst of fascism. We didn't arrive at this point from 3 or 4 BushCo years either.
Politicians will continue to support war, continue to affirm presidential nominations as insurance against any future genuine dissent. Iraq will eventually calm down, unless a third party intervenes to heavily support and arm the Iraqi resistance and that's very unlikely. The country may be redrawn into 2 or 3 mini sectors more easily controlled, i.e. North, South, Central Iraq run by the preferred puppet of local choice. If the US pays, the UN will supply more troops which removes a concentrated US personnel presence. The price of hegemony, as usual, will increase for Americans, as the price has since WWII. And from my soapbox it appears Joe Nobody will grow accustomed to living lower on the hog as the ruling elite and pols grunt at the trough.
If any Joe decides he doesn't like "the American way of life" – he can consider facing off against those murdering adrenaline addicted veterans and high tech weapons he allowed his government to invest in. Or, if history repeats, Joe won't stray far from a flickering screen where he can view graphic mutilations on CSI, Law & Order, etc. but don't show him too much of real war. Keep his cable TV affordable and entertaining; he can't sleep without background noise from the tube.
Posted by Kate-A at 11:19 AM
Thursday, May 25, 2006
In my own backyard. The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) of Tennessee faxed a letter requesting a high school cancel all prayers during the graduation program. According to this story the fracas has cost the job of a "nontenured Munford High teacher" (Dr. Patricia Kilzer) faculty adviser for the newly formed ACLU campus chapter.
"A complaint filed by about a dozen Munford High School students who said they were concerned that prayers would be a part of the Munford graduation exercises. They asked that all prayers be cancelled."
Kilzer must be new to Tennessee.
ACLU executive director Hedy Weinberg said : "If the valedictorian wants to recite a prayer or thank his or her God during the time designated to them, they can do that and should not be told they can't," Weinberg said. "Our focus was to ensure that the school adhere to the constitutional guarantees and not have invited guests or school officials reciting prayer or jeopardizing religious freedom."
What a waste of ACLU time and resources. If you follow KAB you know I'm a practicing heathen yet I have no problem with prayer at public school graduations. I have no quarrel with the Jehovah Witnesses who come to my door or the church groups permitted to fund raise at Wal-Mart. I don't care if Congress has an opening prayer or not. I've no reason to believe children reciting "one nation under God" in the pledge is going to create or prevent a generation more viperous than what we have now. I've no problem with In God We Trust on my money.
Thank God Almighty today's nitpicking ACLU was not instructing MLK on the legalities of prayer and God on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Today Rev. King wouldn't pass the ACLU requirements as an invited speaker at a public high school. He might recite a prayer or jeopardize religious freedom. Maybe division is the real ACLU agenda.
Posted by Kate-A at 10:00 AM
Another story making the rounds of punditocracy. One of those guttural voice females on cable was going on and on about it tonight. Where do cable channels find these women? Shiver, they're hard to look at and listen to. The gas bags are making such a big deal of it and I'm fairly certain the practice of taking work home goes on more than imagined, or more than most folks give a second thought to.
In the early '90s I worked for a Fortune 100 company with 3 initials. I won't mention the field we worked in. But every night I took home computers disks in a brief case. On these disks were the names of million of US citizens, with addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers, DOB, DL numbers, place of employment, personal information which included banks, info on family members including children, friends, neighbors, where the subject had attended school, every state lived in, make, year, model of vehicles, property owned. Pretty much everything but their underwear size and we could guesstimate that from their weight and height information.
Why I was authorized to babysit the disks every night (and weekends) was said to be for security precautions. I supposed if the office building had been swallowed by a huge sink hole there would be sets of disks elsewhere. Had the disks been stolen from my home no one, no matter how geeky, could have retrieved the information on them. Has anyone mentioned if the VA disks were password protected, encrypted, etc.? In any case, when this story broke many desk jockeys checked to make sure they still had the disks they brought home unauthorized. Pencil pushers across the country are tossing laptops with your data on the backseat next to junior blowing spit from his carseat and empty Big Mac wrappers.
But hey, this latest stolen info story gives those congress critters that thing they love to do best – hold hearings (even though they don't hear us) and "probe." John Kerry (according to Faux News) says "Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who is a Vietnam veteran, decried the breach and said he would introduce legislation to require the VA to provide credit reports to the veterans affected by the theft." Decrying and introducing is another favorite of critters. And not a bad deal for Experian, Equifax, and Transunion. Should only cost approximately 100 million. (Kerry threw money at this one so fast I wondered if he's looking for campaign funds.)
The "VA has fallen down on the job" gives the media their weekly assignment : attempt to frighten and panic some part of the public because government employees are sloppy, careless clowns not doing their jobs correctly – but we already know that or should, particularly after the last 5 years or so.
Posted by Kate-A at 1:27 AM
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
A few days ago I sent one of my sons the Jessie MacBeth video to get his opinion on the stammering Jessie's video of killing killing killing. Coming from Information Clearing House made it suspect and Jessie's story read like a bad bad bad late night Hollywood movie where the guys fall a little before the shot rings out and the girls run around in short shorts and cropped tops.
My soldier said it made him think of the protestor scenes in the movie Rules of Engagement and that maybe Jessie needed some money. Apparently ICH has now removed the video and IVAW (Iraq Veterans Against War) disown Mr. MacBeth.
The powers that be make it damned harder and harder for Joe Blow to believe anything anymore from anyone or anywhere.
Posted by Kate-A at 11:29 PM
I cringe, flinch, and feel irritated every time I see AI (Amnesty International) used as some sort of valid provider of information on world atrocities. AI points its finger where its told. Founded in 1961 by a Brit lawyer who was petitioning for the release of 6 "prisoners of conscious" the group snowballed. Yessiree. What began on a lawyer's yellow pad of trial strategy became a worldwide warm fuzzy. Light a candle little one, you can end world horror. AI can't possibly be co-opted by BIG government, can it?
AI during the '80s failed to find human rights abuses under the Sandinista regime but did invent and stretch what they could to appease Reagan. The most they could come up with was Las Tejas prison in Matagalpa, the city where I spent part of the '80s. Fact is there were few to no Contra supporters in Nicaragua. Some contras lived in condos in Miami; some in Tegucigalpa or El Paraiso, some camped at Rio Coco waiting for the next meal and Coke Cola. Contra leader Enrique Bermudez said after the war he couldn't get his Miamista wife and kids to move back to Managua because they liked Big Macs and Nintendo. Probably a good thing though as someone put 2 slugs in his head in a parking lot one night. FSLN or CIA, angry cuckolded husband, who knows.
There were few contras ever captured in Nicaragua and having witnessed some Contra handiwork a small cell and little food would not have been punishment enough, or electric shocks. Not to mention most Nicaraguans had little food during the '80s (unless you consider rice and beans 3x a day as plenty). The Atlantic coast had the indigenous indians displaced from the Honduran border (more for safety and troops on the border) which was culled by AI for whatever violation government forced displacement engenders in the media. Not as if they were interred as common Japenese right? The Moskitos didn't like it but they didn't lose everything they owned and weren't labeled a threat by their government. But AI had Reagan gippering at them for Sandinista atrocities and had to say something.
I saw and heard a lot of things back then but nothing about torture with electricity. However, if you're not careful you'll get a real sample of how touching a live wire and water feels simply by taking a shower in Latin America.
AI has been listing bad deeds and issuing recommendations on protecting human rights for over 40 years. Almost all the bad deeds are done by nations of nonwhite folks, although occasionally, for appearance, they take a smack at the US, usually complaining about the death penalty, but since it's mostly Black and brown Americans it's not an issue the "left" gets political milage (or dollars) out of and waste little of their political time on it. However, Gitmo prison has become a political cornucopia for AI and the "left." I know for a fact, however, that millions of Americans wouldn't know what a "gitmo" is or find it on a map.
AI aided and abetted the spread of the Kuwait "incubator babies." The New York Times published in December 1992 that Amnesty International issued a report claiming Iraqi occupation forces in Kuwait had tortured and killed hundreds of people, including 300 premature babies who died because incubators were stolen. Huh? Backing up Daddy Bush's war? The pillaging plundering Saddam Army swiped incubators and left the royal family jewels alone. (AI retracted the incubator story 2 years after the Gulf War ended.)
Amnesty usually fails to mention that previous leaders and participants in atrocities, paid for by the US, are languishing in California and Florida, and other less climate friendly states. We could have a small metropolis inhabited with the former bloody hands from Latin America; Useful Assests, USA. More than one US senator or pol is married to the relatives of some US dictators, for example Gerald "Jerry" Weller (R-IL) who married wife Zury Ríos Montt at the estate of former Guatemala dictator daddy Efrain Ríos Montt. Jerry, who sits on a subcommittee in DC for international terrorism is now porking and dining with terrorists. Zury, a member of the Guatemalan congress, is adamant that daddy was not a dictator and never hurt anyone. Watch out little Guates if this lady comes to power.
You see folks, AI gets most of their propaganda from the same places you and I do – government sponsored/controlled media and other "NGOs" paid for by big monied people or foundations who also have an agenda which coincides with the current political bosses, party affiliation has no role. AI, UN, etc. are all just big warm fuzzies so little folks think they're doing something by supporting them. No cape or white horse but you too can be a gung-ho peace warrior and atrocity fighter. (Ho may be the operative word here.)
Become a member and feel like you're doing something for the world. AI is a biggie in the myriad of global "orgs" who convince Joe Blow that AI is on the job, just send a donation, write a protest letter, and go back to sleep. This is their online manual to their favorite activities, with such chapters as :
CAMPAIGNING IN THE MODERN WORLD
FUNDRAISING AND CAMPAIGNING
PREPARING CAMPAIGN MATERIALS
MEDIA AND PUBLICITY
HOME GOVERNMENT LOBBYING.
Campaigning and lobbying and fundraising - just like a little bitty mini nongovernment government.
One current campaign is to shut down Gitmo prison camp. Take action! AI website has a letter you can copy/paste/sign and send to Boy George demanding he close down the place. And when and if Gitmo is closed – you can feel your action helped (although few pols if any in D.C. ever see those form letters; maybe the guy who ties up the garbage reads a few.)
In the AI 2006 Report : "Revelation after revelation exposed the extent to which European governments have been partners in crime with the United States, defying the absolute ban on torture and ill-treatment and by outsourcing torture though the transfer of prisoners to states such as Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Syria, which are known to practise torture"
Note, this AI "revelation after revelation" is from Dana of WaPo who "broke" the story of "secret torture camps" although no proof has surfaced. Note also it's code for : Anglo countries are "partners" in crime, whereas nonwhites are the paid darkie foreigners who are actually inhuman enough to flay, burn, beat, murder and torture for dollars, and enjoy it because, in the words of Billy Tray Redneck, "they come from that part of the world" and in redneck that means : more pigment equals less human so they like it (torture).
I suspect Dana (and Judy Miller) use journalism as a cover. Neither have writing skill and both are superb liars – an intel trait for sure.
AI 2006 Report : "Double speak and double standards by powerful governments are dangerous because they weaken the ability of the international community to address human rights problems such as those in Darfur, Chechnya, Colombia, Afghanistan, Iran, Uzbekistan and North Korea. They allow perpetrators in these and other countries to operate with impunity." – "Allow" them to operate? Hell, Anglo elites manufacture and arm groups to kill one another on the darker continents. Europe and America has pulled this perpetual war ruse for at least the last 250 years, and it usually worked well for ruling elite.
Alas, all those "human rights" groups who have global top honchos in bed with global governments, having so little success globally. So many saviors, so many decades, keep them outrages coming. Not that the ruling class will stop their atrocities until they're damn ready to, but folks feel "activist" with a sticker and candle and letter campaign; I doubt the ruling class is even breaking a sweat at this time. Parade, turn your back on their speakers, and send all the letter campaigns you want - just leave their wallets alone and they can't even hear ya.
Europeans and Americans don't seem to understand that if they would but clean their own government's house, most of the urgent problems in the world would peter out from lack of US funding. But on the other hand, if all the battering that daddy government does wasn't unleashed on the world – it might be done right here at home. Maybe that's what subconsciously really scares folks. Well, white folks anyways.
Posted by Kate-A at 5:08 PM
Sunday, May 21, 2006
Madison, Wisconsin -- The principal … said the school made a mistake in letting a Marine Corps recruiter conduct a physical education class there.
Some … called the move a backdoor effort to recruit students.
… participation was voluntary and about 30 percent of students opted out.
… policy limits military visits to three a year. But guidance counselor David Hoppe, who oversees military visits, said he didn't know about it until afterward.
… high school junior Allysa Roedl, 16, chose not to participate. She said the Marine recruiters had students do exercises such as push-ups, and she said they yelled at students "totally Marine-style."
- Push-ups? Good God almighty, what were they thinking? (How many of those students who "opted out" are obese?) Although Allysa chose not to participate she knows they yelled "totally" Marine-style. Allysa is an expert on total Marine-style because she once saw a rerun of Full Metal Jacket.
- Some parents saw the move a "backdoor effort" at recruiting students. Parents did not feel backdoored when JrROTC programs began expanding across the nation in high schools during the 1990's with approval from school boards and funding from Congress. Oh, I forgot, back then it was a clintonian aid to stop the dropout rates and give students a goal after graduation.
- So let me see … a generation of predominantly poorly schooled and functionally illiterate teens who can date, drive, have sex and babies, view porn, commit crime, do drugs and alcohol easy enough, but they need protection from a Marine recruiter? Must be white kids.
Posted by Kate-A at 1:54 PM
'Should've spoken out sooner'.
"Despite high emotions associated with the Watergate scandal and the Vietnam War, public criticism of other members was much less common in 1974 when Murtha first won the House seat he still holds. Without the Internet and the 24-hour cable news cycle of today, there was less pressure on members to get camera time to prove their worth.
Now, Murtha says he should have voiced his concerns about Iraq sooner.
"I probably did not speak out soon enough ... I should have, but I was always so used to doing things behind the scenes and getting something done, getting a reaction from the Executive Branch," the tall, gray-haired Murtha, 73, told The Associated Press in an interview from his congressional office."
-No, the truth is leopards don't change their spots. Truth is Murtha should NOT have spent his political lifetime unconcerned and eagerly porking the rightwing defense industry, aiding and abetting the war machine. Murtha should go home with his "camera time" phony opposition. What a peckerhead.
Posted by Kate-A at 9:33 AM
Thursday, May 18, 2006
May 17, 2006 WASHINGTON – "Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, who could face criminal charges for allegedly punching a Capitol police officer in Washington, D.C., has signed on as a co-sponsor of a House bill formally honoring Capitol Police officers.
The bill is House Resolution 756, which would officially “Express the gratitude and appreciation of the House of Representatives to the professionalism and dedication of the United States Capitol Police."
The bill was submitted on April 4, one week after the incident between Ms. McKinney and Capitol police officer Paul McKenna. At the time, Ms. McKinney’s supporters said the legislation was an attempt to embarrass the six-term Congresswoman from DeKalb County. 39 of the other 40 co-sponsors are Republicans.
A Washington, D.C. Superior Court grand jury continues to deliberate Ms. McKinney’s case. The grand jury was given the case on April 5, but it has yet to hand up an indictment. At least six witnesses have been called to testify.
Ms. McKinney’s office has not yet responded to inquiries about the timing of her decision to co-sponsor this legislation. She is the only co-sponsor to sign on in the past seven weeks."
Pitiful when a person will kiss that much butt for a job, just pitiful.
Posted by Kate-A at 11:45 AM
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
NEW YORK — Verizon Communications Inc. says it did not give the government records of millions of phone calls, joining fellow phone company BellSouth in disputing key assertions in a USA Today article.
The statement came a day after BellSouth Corp. issued a similar denial.
Verizon's statement suggested that USA Today may have erred in not drawing a distinction between long-distance and local telephone calls.
"Phone companies do not even make records of local calls in most cases because the vast majority of customers are not billed per call for local calls," Verizon said.
Three smaller phone companies, with mainly local business, contacted by The Associated Press on Tuesday also denied being approached by the NSA. Representatives at Alltel Corp., Citizens Communications Co. and CenturyTel Inc. all said they had no knowledge of NSA requests to their companies.
The denials by Verizon and BellSouth leave AT&T as the sole company named in the USA Today article that hasn't denied involvement. On Thursday, San Antonio-based AT&T said it had "an obligation to assist law enforcement and other government agencies responsible for protecting the public welfare," but said it would assist only as allowed within the law.
Posted by Kate-A at 8:08 AM
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
C&L has a post and comment titled Scarborough: Phone records and Nixon.. "Scarborough reveals the obvious"..., I guess the obvious would be no Watergate and Nixon resignation? The country is better off for forcing Nixon out of office? Woodward and Bernstein would not have had careers? No script for Hollywood? No Role for Redford? What?
Scarborough Country is hosted by Joe Scarborough, former Florida republican pol in the House of Representatives (1995-2001). He resigned from the house in 2001 to "spend more time with his family." If only all the republicans resigned from D.C. to spend time with their families ... Coincidentally, that same year one of Joe's aides died after fainting and hitting her head on her desk (rumors of his involvement went nowhere). A multi-faceted man Joe also plays and composes songs for his band, Regular Joe, which once performed at the BushCo RNC.
It's an uninteresting clip of Scarborough with the usual media mix of Hollywood with news, or is that news with a Hollywood theme? The intent is to entertain and concomintantly instill fear of being spied on, as many talking heads and pundits are doing of late. Joe begins elaborating on the "stunning twist" of the government spying on reporters. You know, spying on those guys from the same newspapers who promoted stories of WMD, mushroom clouds, 9/11 official story, fair elections, etc. Those same liars who a short while back convinced readers that ragheads in bomb belts were just around the corner, planning another ground zero more horrible with germs and/or suitcase nukes. The same boneheads who defended and explained duct tape, plastic, and the color codes for us. Gave readers the toppling statue, Bush flightsuit, Mission Accomplished, purple fingers, Americans hanging from a bridge, etc.
At one point in Scarborough's lifetime he felt NSA wiretapping was a "nitpicking issue."
As background music, and for the younger aging lefists, Scarborough chose might-be-a-pedophile Bahraini Michael Jackson's 1980s hit Somebody's Watching Me. Forceful Joe tells the government if they want our records - "get a damn search warrant." Bush haters goose-pimpled and cheered around the world. Score 1 for the "left." (I bet you my next invoice amount the government can get that "damn search warrant.")
Scarborough continues with the comparison of today's government with Nixon's, with clips of heartthrob Robert Redford (looking nothing like Woodward or Bernstein) in All the President's Men. Yea Hollywood.
Do ya really think Nixon didn't spy by phone records, use the same tactics?
Transcript of a Nixon tape:
"Haldeman: [reading] [“My strong recommendation would be to retire Hoover now] in all the glory and esteem he has merited and deserved; and not letting him—for his own sake and ours—wind up his career a dead lion being chewed over by the jackals of the Left.”
President Nixon: Absolutely right, Bob, absolutely right. Well, let’s put that to [Attorney General John] Mitchell. That it’s not from me, but from Buchanan. Let’s play this game [unclear]: From one of our—from a very surprising source on the far—on the right.
Haldeman: On the right.
President Nixon: On the far right, and I . . . one of our . . . why not, say, put one of our . . . put one of our favorite columnists on the far right. He will never write it. He will be confused about it."
When I see columnists, warmongers, conservatives, "former" neocon supporters, this new class of public punditocracy who have "awakened" and made the issue of the decade "spying" (the least of BushCo's crimes against humanity) I have to wonder who is behind it, who put them on it. Is this the ruling elite's Republican version of wag the jackal in a blue dress leaking under the desk?
Posted by Kate-A at 12:38 PM
Sunday, May 14, 2006
McGovern was Army MI during the Kennedy assassination and coverup. Ray served as a CIA analyst under seven presidents. Yessiree, under LB "Tonkin" Johnson, I Am Not a Crook Nixon, Pratfall Ford, Peanut Farm Subsidy Carter, Bonzo Reagan, and Daddy Carlyle Bush. Hmmm.
An interview with Ray at Busted Halo.
BH: Being a Catholic who grew up in the 40s and 50s, did you feel that your work was, in some ways, a higher calling?
RM: Yes, I did. It was the height of the Cold War. The opponent was “godless Communism” that threatened our own freedoms and wrought havoc with East Europeans and others whom the Soviets dominated.
Hmmm. In 2003 McGovern cofounded VIPS - Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. Today, Ray McGovern has become a spokesman for some on the "left." Was it a conversion experience? No, as he tells BH: "People who ask that are not aware of the thoroughly moral atmosphere that existed in CIA’s analysis directorate, at least prior to the arrival of director William Casey and his protégé, Robert Gates, both of whom institutionalized the politicization."
Ray worked for the CIA back when the CIA atmosphere was moral - as in Southeast Asia, Vietnam, Chile, Central America, fighting godless commies, and the first Iraq War, etc.
Ray also is co-director of the Servant Leadership School, which provides training and other support for those seeking ways to be in relationship with the marginalized poor. The School is one of ten Jubilee Ministries, not-for-profit organizations inspired by the ecumenical Church of the Saviour and established in an inner-city neighborhood in Washington, DC. Church of the Savior practices a "conservative theology" serving where He "leads" them (with faith-based grants?). Servant Leadership offers a variety of courses, classes, activities, some 3 day intensive seminars, etc. The Church of the Savior was founded 50 years ago by a "few committed souls."
The nation is indeed fortunate to have a former MI officer from 1962-1964, "former" CIA career analyst, and a Servant, who speaks now against the right wingnuts.
Posted by Kate-A at 9:45 PM
All this chatter about illegal snooping and privacy rights. What percentage of America honestly wants "privacy?" (Privacy being defined as unobserved.) Ninety percent, seventy percent, sixty, fifty, thirty ? To the contrary – Americans crave, demand, attention.
Millions of Joes and Janes will gloat over their minute of TV time. They will ham for any camera. Camcorders are recording the saga of their lives for the funniest, extremist, or dumbest home video to show the world.
Americans go the farthest for attention; it's a book and movie deal. They will scalpel their features to look like Barbie and Ken. They will stage themselves the victim of kidnapping, rape, other crimes. They will drive their toddlers into a lake for a man's attention. They will drop a skirt or shirt or underpants for more attention. America is a nation of Ripley's Believe It or Not hopefuls. A land of wannabee Guinness jugglers. Look at me, look at me is the national anthem.
Across the nation, in supermarkets, malls, waiting rooms, folks will tell their intimate and not so intimate life stories to total strangers. If they can corner an ear they will tell the details of their recent gallbladder surgery, their spouse's bad habits, their child's emotional problems or his genius, the condition of their 4-legged pets.
Across the nation, the affluent and not so affluent, will rack up credit cards to give Baby a 16th birthday party complete with hired paparazzi. Baby is vamped, ramped, and as tramped as Paris Hilton. Celeb for a night. The center of attention.
America elevated porn from skanky women to the girl next door who wants attention. Stuff every orifice, fake an orgasm – it's art. Fame and money, appearances on Oprah.
Americans purchase cars, homes, surgeries, clothes – with one thing on their mind – attention. Look at me, look at me, I am bigger, better, richer than you. We have two families here in Podunk who drive Hummers; they're famous now and always get attention when they cruise Main Street.
As I write, there are fools performing in email and on phone, hoping their chatter will bring the authorities to the front door. Using that silly list of watchwords floating around the internet, hoping the feds arrive with Joe Blow's 5 minutes of famous. Bored silly Americans looking for an incident to fame.
A nation of adults with an adolescent mentality – who's leaders might nuke the world just for the attention. A nation which has always spied on its citizens whether they knew it or not.
Which ever party holds power gets to spy on the opposition – and on a handful of folks who might pose a threat to the system, but no genuine worry there as the system is sewn up tighter than the badge on a UN beret.
It's not as though Rev. Jackson will lead anyone to the promised land, and poor whites don't have a "leader," … well unless they think Dean or Kerry or Gore or Feingold or Kucinich or a Clinton will come to the rescue.
And fool, the government already has everyone's personal information. Just ask the IRS, your employer or landlord or banker or Census taker. You might be off the radar if you're long-term illegal, homeless, or a member of the out-of-sight rich.
So of course the "left" and others will make a big issue of data mining/spying when most Joes and Janes care not at all if big brother is saving all those calls from folks on their cell phones wandering in Wal-Mart looking for syrup and trash bags.
Because Joe and Jane don't want privacy – they want an audience.
(p.s. KAB is open to suggestions on how to get the attention I deserve.,)
Posted by Kate-A at 10:50 AM
Friday, May 12, 2006
CNN's JACK CAFFERTY: "I don't know about wisdom but you'll get a bit of outrage. We better hope nothing happens to Arlen Specter, the Republican head of the Judiciary Committee, because he might be all that's standing between us and a full blown dictatorship in this country. He's vowed to question these phone company executives about volunteering to provide the government with my telephone records and yours, and tens of millions of other Americans."
Oh my might be. If Arlen "Magic Bullet" Specter is all that stands between "us and a full blown dictatorship" then folks you better pucker up and blow. Congress sucked up to dictatorship a long time ago when they bought the Warren Commission findings, to name one among many.
Prepare for probes, Congress loves to probe you long time.
As for Jack Talking Head, the NY journalist John Swinton said "There is no such thing, at this date of the world's history, in America, as an independent press. . . . The business of the journalist is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. . . . . We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes. -- (1829-1901), managing editor of the New York Times during the Civil War and later of the New York Sun, in a speech to journalists in New York, c. 1880. And MSM has only gone downhill since.
Posted by Kate-A at 11:08 AM
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
The most dreadful thought, one that has been floated before. JEB as pResident. The current resident said "Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is well-suited for another office and would make "a great president."
Multiple movie lines rush through the mind. Do ya feel lucky punk, well do ya punk? It's alive, it's alive. Run Forrest run!! It burns argggh augghh it burns.
"Gov. Bush was waiting on the tarmac when Air Force One arrived and greeted the president with a politician's handshake and "Welcome to Florida." The president brushed aside the formality and playfully adjusted his younger brother's necktie." Awwwww, how cute, they're just good ol' boys.
Just the good ol' boys,
Never meanin' no good,
Beats all you've ever saw, been in trouble with the law since the day they was born.
Straight'nin' the curve,
Flat'nin' the hills (foreign policy)
Someday the mountain (of evidence) might get 'em, but the law never will.
Makin' their way,
The only way they know how,
That's just a little bit more than the law will allow.
Just good ol' boys,
Wouldn't change if they could …
Posted by Kate-A at 1:21 PM
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
This story really produced a chuckle. HUD secretary Alphonso Jackson "gives blunt warning" :
"He had made every effort to get a contract with HUD for 10 years," Jackson said of the prospective contractor. "He made a heck of a proposal and was on the (General Services Administration) list, so we selected him. He came to see me and thank me for selecting him. Then he said something ... he said, 'I have a problem with your president.'
"I said, 'What do you mean?' He said, 'I don't like President Bush.' I thought to myself, 'Brother, you have a disconnect -- the president is elected, I was selected. You wouldn't be getting the contract unless I was sitting here. If you have a problem with the president, don't tell the secretary.'
"He didn't get the contract," Jackson continued. "
Second page of story goes on ... "Dustee Tucker, a spokeswoman for Jackson's office, said the value of the advertising contract, which was to be placed with a minority publication, could not be provided. Because it was not awarded per what the Secretary said, we don't have any record of it," she said. "It was probably all verbal at that point."
Verbal. Verbal. I'd bet my rosebushes the above conversation took place only in Secretary Hudster's puffed up self-important bald knob. Yous best be likin' my bossman or yous won't be workin', no suh, no suh. Jackson was talkin' shit. But I wouldn't be surprised if a brother brings suit claiming to be the "prospective contractor" in the story. What a hoot.
Posted by Kate-A at 9:13 PM
America's alternative party, the coming new Democrats? What's the "left's" stated goal these days? Vote in more democrats. Get rid of Bush/Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice, those neocons. Oh yes, Joe Blow has benefited these last 40 years, with a 4-8 year change of big business asskissers. I really do not look forward to the next few years of the "right" having their turn at bashing.
I'm reminded of the scene from the movie Copycat when Sigourney Weaver is hanging and squirming over the toilet as Harry Connick Jr. has headlocked a cop and with knife and gun grins - "Should I shoot him or stick him? Stick him or shoot him?" Reminds me of our political choices. Should I vote Democrat or Republican? Green or Indie? Shoot 'em or stick 'em? No matter, lower middle working class America is left for dead, hanging and hemorrhaging.
To illustrate, I'll use the biggest blogger's site, who supposedly represents America's Dems with a plan, spokesperson and co-author for progressive democrats on how to take back the party and fix it, Mr. Daily Kos (Markos Zuniga). I'll not go into detail as to who, why, and where I think Zuniga is coming from. Last I lurked at DK Mr. Kos was big on Howard Dean (and a campaign adviser). (Excuse my hearty laugh here at the Great Dem Hope.)
Kos himself states he has a "heavy focus on elections." Head 'em up, herd 'em out, keep them voters movin' rawhide. But if the followers of a high ranked political weblog still believe there are honest politicians out there and voting makes a difference ….if we can find 'em and fix 'em, all will be fine … That's the plan? Vote? However, I admit I stopped visiting the DK site a couple of years ago as it seemed to be mostly short-takes with participatory reader comments, whose (I say this reluctantly) ages and IQs seemed a matched set (and names like anonymouse, rockerharder, prettyprowler, litmonkey).
What's even more sleep inducing about the layman "leaders" of the "left/progressive" is the constant airing of tidbitty stories that matter not a damn in the grand scheme of things. Picked up and linked by 99.9 percent of "left" sites. Tales from questionable sources, or human interest stories used to draw an "ain't that awful" when there may not be an awful. But for purposes of outrage they can be played that way. For instance, this one Marines Asking Iraqi for Food. We sent them into battle without ammo and gear, now this! Are the bossmen really starving the troops who are guarding and securing their oil and geopolitical plans?
Is the government (composed of Dem and Rep) not feeding our boots on the ground? Or is it, as with my sons, the food in the field is not that good and tuna tastes better than an MRE. Although mine prefer beef summer sausage, crackers, jalapeños, canned pineapple. If you've ever spent time in a war zone there is good food available for the right price. The blackmarket is big, really big, business. I would bet my old jeep I could dine in Iraq any night of the week on kuzi (lamb), tomatoes, bread and tea. And cheaper than what I'd pay for the after dinner liquor and American cigarettes.
Providing roadside meals is how many locals in a war zone survive – it's income. Every businessman in the region is selling food, smokes, and more to Iraqis who resell it to the troops if they can. You give MREs to Iraqi street orphans, to those who have no one wiring money to them, to Iraqis too poor to buy from the border venders selling at inflated prices.
My initial thought was not that American soldiers are hungry, starving – but that they may eat something that doesn't sit well. Is it safe to just walk up and ask anyone in Iraq to feed you? A soldier would spend time in the 'hood with people before breaking bread with them, unless maybe they were finger eating out of the same pot.
So, a typical occurrence in a war zone becomes a jerked fuzzy story (elicits warm fuzzy and angry knee jerk) for use against the right wingnuts. Which is why the "left" is going nowhere. Too busy encouraging voters to "pick me pick me" and pointing to too many stories they want you to think has teeth but is all gums.
Posted by Kate-A at 3:57 PM
Monday, May 08, 2006
Forbes story: "Members of the Senate committee that would consider President Bush's nominee also expressed reservations, saying the CIA is a civilian agency and putting Hayden atop it would concentrate too much power in the military for intelligence matters."
Feinstein: "You can't have the military control most of the major aspects of intelligence," said Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, who is on the Senate Intelligence Committee. The CIA "is a civilian agency and is meant to be a civilian agency," she said on ABC's "This Week."
Pssst, Dianne – the CIA works for the Commander in Chief, the guy who controls all the military. The "civilian" CIA brought Nazi General Reinhardt Gehlen to the US after WWII to help make the agency what it is today.
And Dianne – April 21, 2005 you said, and I quote, : "General Hayden led a remarkable turnaround of an enormously complex and technical agency, the National Security Agency. He was first made Director of the NSA under President Clinton and has had his tour extended three times by President Bush. That is a true testament to his leadership. He has proven his ability to establish a skilled and dedicated workforce. In short, General Hayden is a strong choice to be the day-to-day manager of the intelligence community."
Hayden can no longer manage the intelligence community because Ms. Feinstein decided to shove in the word "civilian." Who told you to do that hon?
Is this a bait and switch? You know like nominee Harriet Miers and then Sammy Alito? After everyone rants about Hayden will Bush appoint a younger version of an old nazi-ish Kissinger, or a Richard Haas type who really understands the world from the CFR?
Sen. Joe Biden, … fears the CIA would "just be gobbled up by the Defense Department" if Hayden takes over.
Oh heavens to murgatroid you covert turkeys. If politicians don't know the CIA is a camp whore who fronts military operations on behest of corporate interests the country is worse off than I thought.
Posted by Kate-A at 3:08 AM
Saturday, May 06, 2006
Don't believe everything published by MSM. Boston Globe and NYT would have you believe that Bush has issued over 750 signing statements, all giving himself "imperial powers." Not all presidential signing statements are attempts to nullify law. Some praise, some voice reservations regarding specific items, some say thank you.
"Signing statements" according to Wiki and the Clinton Justice Department are statements:
… the President may properly decline to enforce a law, at least when it unconstitutionally encroaches on his powers, then it arguably follows that he may properly announce to Congress and to the public that he will not enforce a provision of an enactment he is signing. If so, then a signing statement that challenges what the President determines to be an unconstitutional encroachment on his power, or that announces the President's unwillingness to enforce (or willingness to litigate) such a provision, can be a valid and reasonable exercise of Presidential authority.
Presidential signing statements are published in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents. This site has a search engine available to compare Clinton/Bush from 1993-2006 signing statements if you're so inclined to such tedium. Use of the word "construe" in the search box will return better results. Presidents construe a lot.
Presidential signing statements appear to construe most on executive power and foreign policy. Clinton could construe better than Bush, though no surprise there as the Bush team will never be as slick as William J.
John Dean has an article on the matter from January. I think Dean's opinion is nothing more than rhetoric to produce hyperventilation on the "left." Sometimes I'm still awed by the number of former expert wolves who pretend to be reasonable sheep, and they're so good at it. There is a Former Felons Club somewhere which Republicans draw their conservative "detractors" from.
DEAN: "But like steroids, signing statements ultimately lead to serious trouble."
To date, no signing statements by any president has led to "serious trouble" that I can find, and Dean doesn't give any instance or example to show where a statement has. Dean also uses phrases such as : "President Bush used a signing statement to attempt to nullify the recent, controversial McCain amendment regarding torture" …. "attempt"? So did Bush or did Bush not nullify the torture amendment? Or this : "Bush's signing statements tend to be brief and very broad, and they seldom cite the authority on which the president is relying for his reading of the law." Clinton statements were also broad, but better written, and did not "cite the authority" he relied on either.
Dean gives two examples of the effect of signing statements but states "suppose a new law" and then the interpretation of a hypothetical signing statement but I don't want supposition Dean – give me clear-cut current Bush statements, that differ in tone or legality from Reagan or Clinton or Bush 1. After 5+ Bush years signing surely you can point to one.
DEAN: "The frequency and the audacity of Bush's use of signing statements are troubling." Dean, Dean, Dean every breath the Shrub takes is troubling. (The rightwing deity, Reagan, was as above the law as Bush apparently wants to be, but the right never takes Reagan's name in vain.)
Knowing Bush couldn't cobble together an intelligent sentence if his life depended on it, I would bet my new patio Bush wrote none of the statements, merely signed them. Tell me whose directing the composition of these "signing statements" as that would help me understand what is really going on behind the statements. Bush will be gone in a couple of years so these statements should benefit the next administration more than the current, if there's any benefit to be had as apparently the statements have meant little to nothing in a century or two.
But can't you just hear pResident Hillary claiming her hands are tied because Dubya wrote this or that signing statement and the matter will have to be referred to the courts and the courts will delay, delay, delay because there is no precedence, and congress will sit in session attempting to hammer out new legislation to rectify the situation, if they can squeeze the job in between fundraisers for their next election.
Dean compared Bush and the Nixon administration: "First, there are the leaks: People within the Executive branch become troubled by a president's overreaching. When Nixon adopted extreme measures, people within the administration began leaking. The same is now happening to Bush, for there was the leak about the use of torture. And, more recently, there was the leak as to the use of warrantless electronic surveillance on Americans." As if Hoover in a red dress was not surveilling Americans illegally?
I would bet my new apple orchard Clinton's grin is one of relief that he was smeared with a blue dress rather than issues of "overreaching," although the "right" ranted for years Bill was maneuvering law to set up the New World Order with EOs (executive orders). Maybe they were right, in which case he paved the way for BushCo.
Hmmm. Too bad there are not more insider leakers leaking info on 9/11, anthrax, stolen elections, bin Laden. Maybe Porter Goss will revisit some of that.
Oops, forgot. Porter the Spymaster was sent in to tidy up any evidence Tenet might have overlooked. Of course, since congress on steroids gave us another intel agency and DNI Negroponte - America is much safer, no matter how many imperial statements the recklessly audacious Bush signs, right Bubba?
Posted by Kate-A at 11:25 AM
Friday, May 05, 2006
Thursday, May 04, 2006
ACLU, one of many groups whose survival depends on convincing folks they're needed, "released" abuse information : ACLU: Military knew of Iraq abuse claims. No kidding, the brass knew. Basically the same "story" they were circulating 2 years ago.
Will Lt. General Sanchez's head roll, or is it simply PR for ACLU - illuminating and adding a few lines to last year's news, to remind us they are liberty watchdogs, arf arf. Protecting our civil liberties for the past 80 years.
What has the ACLU done for me lately, or remotely? Hmmm. They're always suing, filing, releasing. And I'm always curious how NGOs, fighting for me, are doing their job.
For all the recent ACLU poking around in "voter irregularities" I'm still sure hold-ur-nose voting in the one-party system is rigged whether I make it to the polls or not.
Upon Rush Limbaugh's arrest the ACLU immediately filed an "amicus brief." I tried not to be overly concerned about Limbaugh and had ACLU not befriended him I was pretty sure Rush would keep his liberty. I had bets on Rush getting a great pee bargain and not sharing a bunk with Tyrone Black and Bubba Poor. But an ACLU victory for the pillhead's medical privacy would be a victory for us all. I bet Rush wished his info about anal cysts had remained private too, making him the butt of fewer jokes.
Lately the ACLU has "spearheaded" and prevented various States from passing laws such as abortion for minors needing parental consent and stopped some abstinence programs from using federal funds. But, still I haven't rushed to tell my 13 y/o granddaughter that federally funded fudduddies won't be telling her to keep her panties on or that abortion is available without mom and dad knowing about it. American kids may not know what a map is but by golly their thongs and boxers are free of nanny government. Must be frustrating though when a kid can't legally buy cigarettes along with those Cheetos and condoms.
ACLU also hasn't done much about our liberty to protest pols outside a designated area. We do get to keep our right to say anything – as long as we say it inside the cage. The "zones" were instituted by Clinton but under Clinton they were "free speech zones," mainly for a handful of freepers; under BushCo they are "protest zones" or caged gulags. Of course, the "right" never protested Clinton the way the "left" says it's going to protest Bush.
Today the ACLU defends Rev. Phelps of the Westboro Baptist church. The hate cult that stages "protests" at the funerals of fallen soldiers. Does it ever occur to ACLU they're not defending civil liberty - but defending shitheads who disrespect, disrupt, and disturb others who want only to mourn and bury their dead? (Phelps and friends are the ones carrying the God Hates Fags sign.)
But what really made the ACLU stink was their backing of NAMBLA, North American Men/Boy Love Association.
Nambla states sex between men and boys is simply supporting "the liberation of persons of all ages from sexual prejudice and oppression." They of course "break no laws." They sell Boys Speak Out on Man/Boy Love which includes a section on Love & Loyalty offerings :
The Best Thing That Ever Happened to MeGreg, age 16
I Love Him, and I Know That He Loves Me Darrel, age 16
It Shouldn't Be a Crime to Make Love Bryan, age 12 1/2
I'm Not Going To Be Kept Away from Him (An Interview) Thijs, age 11
ACLU defends its defense of NAMBLA as merely advocating : "robust freedom of speech for everyone." Seems two Nambla fans kidnaped, raped, and murdered a 10 y/o boy, using the Association's self-help book, The Survival Manual: The Man's Guide to Staying Alive in Man-Boy Sexual Relationships (or How to Rape and Escape as some call it).
The two men are in prison and Nambla free to continue its "robust" tips to perps such as how to build relationships with children, how to gain the confidence of children's parents, where to go to have sex with children so as not to get caught. Advice on when to leave America and how to rip off credit card companies to get cash to finance escape if you are caught.
The ACLU has the tired old line of "the defense of freedom of speech is most critical when the message is one most people find repulsive." "Most critical" when "most people" are repulsed by it? Is that meant to be a profound statement that folks can't argue with? Real liberty lovers must defend Chester Molester and Hate Crusader because a meme sounds fair?
Americans don't know when or where to draw the line anymore; cannot recognize the "watchdogs" aren't guarding our liberty, just barking to distract us.
Posted by Kate-A at 3:33 PM
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Bolivian President Seizes Gas Industry. Hmmm. Sounds radical.
However, the truth is not as extreme as the headline may insinuate. Morales has made a gesture which pleases Bolivia's "left" and, while not an "expropriation," it gives notice to foreign oil that more equitable contracts must be negotiated.
Bolivia's oil and gas industry was privatized in 1996. Previously, the resources were owned by the State in partnership with foreign investors, and Bolivia received 50 percent of profits, until 1996. At that time, with the World Bank and IMF on Bolivian backs, the oligarchy privatized and cut a deal with foreign investors where Bolivia received 18 percent royalties on their oil and gas fields and foreign investors paid no taxes. (And you thought Slick Willie wasn't good for big business.)
Decades before the 1996 deal Bolivia's landscape, like all of Latin America, was one rightwing oligarch/military puppet after another, gringo approved. And again, as in most of Latin America (and elsewhere), Bolivia's leftists, once any clout was obtained through the system, became the usual self-serving career hog politicians.
Morales wants to return to the 50/50 revenues. It is unlikely foreign investors will accept giving Bolivians ½ the pie after a decade of having 82 percent all to themselves. There is the possibility Bolivia's own oligarchy wants Morales to do what they don't have the backbone to do. Get them more of their pie back. Any new deal will read as if beneficial to the little guy, but continued poverty for the Bolivian masses will be concealed in the fine print.
Morales has stated China is interested if the current oil/gas corporations won't make a deal. But again, if one looks at the multi-transnationals who have moved to China – a Bolivia/China mating could be what the Anglo investors maneuver to their own benefit. Mattel, Levi Strauss, Reebok, Citigroup, Motorola, Kodak, and others in China wouldn't mind at all. They need cheaper resources as much as they needed cheaper labor.
Morales also will not be able to do much with coca legalization as too much foreign "aid" carries drug eradication stipulations. Wealth from any legal coca expansion will be to those in power, at home and abroad – not to the little brown people cultivating small patches. They may manage an extra bowl of daily rice and beans but coca farming will not lift them any higher on the plantation.
Bolivia has had land reform laws on the books for decades. Problem is, those who hold vast tracts of land have circumvented the law by placing one grazing cow in the pasture to qualify for a "working" ranch, or send thugs to murder and frighten off any squatters attempting to use a few acres for survival, or the elite simply buy a politician to adopt laws which benefit the few have-holders. Political procedures of modern man huh?
I think the election of Morales is little more than a symbolic nod to the restless Bolivian natives. Bolivia's elite and the "Western world" elites will not allow change by the commoners unless the deal fits in the overall design of their world order. Remember, always use a long spoon when supping with the deal makers.
Perhaps the mistake made is that the "left" in Bolivia, or anywhere, typically believe they can make deals with the ruling elite. A belief that the ruling elite will be fair and reasonable even when forced to cut a deal with the "unwashed masses." Which is why in ancient times a radical change of leadership was often followed by beheading and getting rid of the previous ruler, his cohorts, family members, friends. Just in case the 'used to haves it all' ever want it back.
Thank goodness we the serfs are civilized now days and not killing off ruling elites - only the other little people they designate for slaughter.
Posted by Kate-A at 1:10 PM
Monday, May 01, 2006
I watched the last 20 minutes or so of Stephen Colbert's schtick at the WH correspondents dinner, and did not laugh. Perhaps I have lost my sense of political humor. Actually I believe I stopped laughing at politics around January 2001. The resultant shitstorm the ruling elite stirred since then just doesn't seem to be comedic material.
At last year's correspondents dinner Laura Bush made the peculiar remark that "Andover and Yale don't have a real strong ranching program. But I'm proud of George. He's learned a lot about ranching since that first year when he tried to milk the horse. What's worse, it was a male horse." Eeeewwww, what an image - not to mention this particular joke is old, old, old toilet humor.
This year, throughout Colbert's finale rant, Dubya sat with a matron's pursed-lip semi-smirk. A pose he inherited from Mama Babs, who last year Laura likened as more Don Corleone than Aunt Bea.
The version of this year's dinner didn't have much guffawing laughter, but polite tittering. Seemed the dinner guests were an uncomfortable majority. Colbert pointed to Bush's falling poll numbers, wiretapping, secret prisons, Cheney's shooting a lawyer, Bush photo-ops. Old talking points. The Helen Thomas taped segment, and I'm not sure what that was all about, was pointlessly goofy.
Certainly Bush's handlers had knowledge beforehand of what to expect at this dinner and from Colbert. Dubya's expression was one of a delinquent teen suffering another lecture from Dad. An uneasy, uninterested boy who needed a double dosage of Ritalin or Adderall to sit through it.
Nice too that Joe Wilson and his wife felt compelled to attend and break bread with those who "destroyed" Plame's career in retaliation for Joe's criticism. Must seem rather silly now for BushCo to have attacked Joe while Colbert and others are invited to criticize the Shrub's illegal activities. Fortunate for Bush and Operation War that Wilson waited until after March 2003 before "outing" the administration on that Niger yellow cake.
I recall long ago when SNL debuted, at the time so outrageously politically incorrect. Some of us, younger and dumber back then, thought the country was on the road to change, as evidenced by SNL's relentless uncensored unforgiving lampooning of politicians. But the cast progressed on to other venues and fortunes (or overdoses) and I haven't watched SNL in decades.
Comedy/comedians today have no more effect on politics than did SNL in the '70s, but at least the originally crew of SNL was hilarious, I think. Or maybe it takes a mind younger than mine to find humor in ridiculing BushCo.
On the other hand, I wouldn't have found hope or humor in Hitler's leadership dinners either, at least not while the führer was still in power.
Posted by Kate-A at 10:26 AM